tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN October 17, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
>> new york. >> two harvard law school guys. we have no more time. you can always follow what's going on here in "the situation room" on twitter. i'm wolf blitzer. thanks very much for joining us. erin burnett "outfront" starts erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com next, obama won the battle last night, but did mitt romney win the war? did the president's record on the economy add up? >> plus, we're not just analyzing what the two candidates said, but how they said it, how they talked to each other, all those grimaces, smiles and snarks. angel the fbi foiled a plot to blow up new york's federal reserve bank with a 1,000 pound bomb. tonight, we are learning about the suspect's past and connection to al-qaeda. let's go aufz.
. tonight, congratulations, mr. president. they liked you. they really did. but one small problem. they didn't like you all that much where it really may count. on the economy. in cnn's poll of people who actually watched the whole debate, the president came out on top by seven points over mitt romney. that's the battle. this may be the war. when it came down to the economic question, the key issues that are going to decide this election 20 days from now, debate watchers favored romney. in some of the recent polls, it's been closely tied with mitt romney only having an edge on the deficit, even there a small one. on the question of who would better handle the economy, the answer, mitt romney, by an 18-point advantage. who would better handle the deficit? mitt romney by 23 points.
an better taxes, advantage romney. this time by seven points. the group of undecided voters in ohio seemed to agree. here was mitt romney's high point of the night. >> i want to bring the rates down. i want to simplify the tax code and i want to get middle income taxpayers to have lower taxes and the reason i want middle income taxpayers to have lower taxes is because middle income taxpayers have been buried over the past four years. >> now, when the president talks about the tax plan, was not the the high point for undecided voters. so, could the president's form on the key issues cost him? i spoke with larry summers, former director of the -- and former treasury secretary.
i asked him why the president is polling so poorly. >> the facts, the president's got to do much better. look, i can say that i want to eat a lot of dessert and lose 40 pounds. while those are great to have -- governor romney says he's going to cut middle people's taxes, cut high income people's tacks. he's going to preserve the program and the problem is, it just doesn't add up. it will get rid of half the government, or end up on middle class families. just doesn't work. >> let me ask you about another question. when the president talks about what he's done so far, so, we actually ran the numbers on all the stimulus programs. he has spent a significant amount of money, mark zandi,
about $1.35 trillion. so, now per job, obviously, this is just a simple mathematical equation. >> 4.5 million families who are living the -- between working and being unemployed. i think it is. and you listen to those jobs, some of the things we have. we have the difference between kids that go to school five days a week and kids that get get to -- the substantial progress of renewing our infrastructure. we have important down payment on getting the computerized medical records, which have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives every year by
reducing medical errors. we have substantial progress towards extending broad band and making it available when it's a crucial part of connecting with our society and we have a set of investments. >> maybe you were reading by mind, but i want to talk about renewable energy. the u.s. department of energy has about -- it's about 11% of the 1.2, just show you this, a ceo was with the president at the speech at the rose garden and when the company actually
opened its plant in michigan, the president called the ceo and said this is the birth of a new industry in america. >> it's no secret if you're in the press, skeptal about those investments. the government has to be very careful in acting as a venture capit capitalist. given the magnitude of our energy policy, given the importance of strengthening america's manufacturing, i think the president was right to be pushing for advance the american leadership in renewable energy. >> would he be better than the obama administration?
>> the president particular projects -- >> i'll give you that. >> within the energy department, so i don't think he'd be that -- >> there's a big difference in what the public and private sector needs to do. what mitt romney was good at, knocking the facts. that's a very different thing than creating a whole industry of the future. there's a big difference between -- >> you believe -- >> sporting new technologies and starting a new kind of stationary school. >> all right, one final question. this is on the deficit. four years ago, the president made a promise he would cut the deficit in half by the first term. he has not kept his promise. >> the president when he made that promise didn't know what he was going to inherit.
he didn't know the economy was going to go into free fall and the situation was -- as a consequence, it's taken us longer to work our way out than it otherwise would have. first priority is jobs that will get this economy growing and part of that is putting in place a framework that will give people the sense these debts are under control. and that's absolutely something the president would have done if the congress had been prepared to cooperate with them around the time of the great debt limit struggle. it's something they've been looking to do during the the lame duck session and my hope would be that the president's principle is mostly spending some avenues. that's a balanced principle.
they think they can do it all on one side. >> thank you very much. good to see you. >> thank you. >> and still to come, the ugly side of the debate. the interruptions, the faces. plus, the big fight over three words. acts of terror. tonight, we're going to look at the timeline of who said what, when they said it, about the attack in libya that killed four americans and suddenly, lance armstrong, gone from his charity. can live strong survive without lance? [ male announcer ] every day, thousands of people are choosing advil®. here's one story. i'm sean. i switched to advil® 10 months ago. biking can be really tough on the lower back and your upper thighs. you have some nasty aches and pains. i really like advil® because it takes care of it all. neck ache, shoulder pain and definitely lower back pain.
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companies -- >> i had a question and the question was how much did you cut them by? >> you want me to answer -- >> how much did you cut them by. let me mention something else the president said a moment ago, when he was describing chinese investments and so forth. >> candy, hold on a second. >> i'm still speaking. >> i'm sorry. >> mr. president -- >> governor romney -- >> mr. president, have you looked at your pension? >> i don't look at my pension. it's not as big as yours, it doesn't take as long. >> you also have investments in chinese companies, through a cayman's trust. >> we're sort of way off topic here. mr. romney, completely off immigration. >> we were talking about immigration -- >> i want to make sure -- >> if i could have you sit down, governor romney, thank you. >> did you have trouble understanding what they were say
i ing? there were moments like that last night. romney did seem to spend more time interrupting than the president did and the moderator was also interrupted by him. did this come off as disrespectful or rude to you? i was with a focus group and they got that feeling. it was too much of that. >> i think he came across as very amped up. i think he was expecting a more aggressive president obama and i think he raised the energy level and it's quite possible they raised the energy level a bit too high. >> like the energizer bunny, turned him up to ten and couldn't tile it back to seven? >> i also think right out the gate with his first answer with his first question, it wasn't as strong and polished as his answer the last time around. i'm of the view that's how you build a foundation. i thought his rhythm was a little bit off.
high level of aggression. >> john, i liked how you called it hall monitor mitt. a stickler for the rules. here he was last night. >> i got to move you to -- >> the first -- >> he actually got the first question, so i get the last question. last answer on that one. >> actually, in the follow-up, it doesn't begin like that. >> it began -- he gets the first word of that segment, i get the last word, let me just make this comment. >> he can have -- >> rick, again, i'm speaking. i'm speaking. >> the newspaper -- >> i'm speaking. you get 30 seconds, the way the rules work here is that i get 60 seconds -- >> no, but the the american people -- >> anderson? >> i mean, the guy likes it when people play by the rules. >> that's a very generous ininterpreter ration. >> and he likes to touch people. >> this is hall monitor mitt persona.
he does tend to try to litigate the rules, really stand up for them in great detail. it comes across as previous and unpresidential. there's something odd about it. the twitter feed, it's bullying. entitled. doesn't like to live by rules that he hasn't set. it has come out in every debate and it is not his most presidential quality. he doesn't seem fully in control of this aspect of this debate stop. >> the president looked very different at this debate than at the debate before. small things, like in the last debate, he would be looking down taking notes. smiling or you know, he had his facial expressions. is this going to be enough for him? >> well, as weak at the performance was the first time, i think he is very strong this time. and you're right. there were things that seemed as if he was talking faster. he certainly talked in a way that ordinary viewers at home would understand what he was talking about more.
i don't know that this debate necessarily will win the election for him, but i would imagine that it would stop governor romney's momentum and make it closer race going into the home stretch. it wasn't just that romney was bullying. i think he was really somewhat disrespectful to the president. you have to be careful when you challenge a president, even when running against him. the president hasn't been the the strongest debater on the national stage. this was by far the strongest debate i've ever seen. >> what's interesting, it seemed like mitt romney, like there was a point he's been really hard core and relentless, that it had become part of the narrative, so when it wasn't the topic of con ver sag, he wanted to make sure. here is one of those topics, contraception. >> how do you dif wrenn ration
from george w. bush? >> i just want to make sure, i think i was supposed to but i don't believe -- >> i don't think so, candy. i want to make sure your time keepers are working. >> the time keepers are all working and the last part, it's for the two of you to talk to one another and it isn't quite as ordered. the question is on the floor. >> i just note that i don't believe that bureaucrats in washington should tell someone they should use contraceptives or not. >> that's the point he wanted to make. >> absolutely. one of the fascinating things thabt debate is that it took place in hempstead, long island. it's important he got a mix of questions from a lot of folks who were disappointed. those are folks mitt romney's going to have to reach out to. it was an issue mix he faced and something like contraception, a really big issue for a lot of
college educated, married, not just women, but men as well. somewhat socially moderate or liberal, who might be open for voting for mitt romney. >> there were questions about abortion or marriage equality, which i was struck by. there was a new ad out today trying to pivot to the center on abortion. this line he's walking, saying he wants to defund planned parenthood, but doesn't think bureaucrat in washington, overturn roe v. wade. he did want to get that in there, overture for women. >> that's the problem. especially if you're more on the moderate side. you lose your base if you're honors. . >> in this campaign, mitt romney is not challenged the unpopular
part of the republican party platform throughout the whole primary and ever since then. the first time he showed any distance between himself and the unpopular or more idea logical parts was at the last debate and it helped him a lot. this time, because president obama was more pugilistic and engaged and really deft. it was a lot hard er for romney to sort of make it up and do the etch a sketch on national tv. >> thanks very much to all three. "outfront" next, a terror plot foiled. today, the fbi said it stopped a man who planned on setting off a 1,000 pound bomb at the federal reserve bank in new york. plus, president obama runs through a checklist of his foreign policy successes. we have our own checklist. since ameriprise financial was founded back in 1894, they've been committed to putting clients first. helping generations through tough times. is
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pound bomb in the heart of new york's financial district. susan candiotti has more. >> here's what we know so far. he was a 21-year-old college student and came to the united states according to prosecutors with terror on his mind. he came here wanting to wage jihad, to destroy the american economy. and so, he said he even wanted to disrupt or possibly even stop the presidential election. he made a couple of big mistakes, thankfully. one turned out to be an fbi source, who got other undercover agents to work with him and then, of course, they put together this -- and created a bomb, but it was a fake bomb. it really wouldn't have harmed anyone, but if it had been the real deal, of course a lot of men, women and children could have been killed. it appears as though it was. according to sources.
he came here seeking help from others who could help him, but in fact, those people turned out to be other undercover agents. it's an elaborate sting operation, but a successful one in that they targeted and arrested hichl. here's what ray kelly had to say about it. >> this individual came in with the expressed purpose of committing a terrorist act. he was motivated by al-qaeda. so, we see this threat as you know, being with us for a long time to come. >> right before they almost set off this bomb, he wanted to stop at a hotel, prosecutors say, to make a suicide tape. that's what they did. he said on this tape, quote, we will not stop until we attain victory or martyr dom. it appears he achieved neither
one. >> thank you very much. incredible and frightening story. meanwhile, a man entered a guilty plea on a plot to kill the saudi ambassador by blowing up a popular restaurant in washington, d.c., in which americans would have been killed. the country, he says, put him up to it. and the molt of the debate when the president turned the tables on mitt romney. does the president's claim add up? that guy, put him in it. what's this? [ male announcer ] tell him he's about to find out. you're about to find out. [ male announcer ] test it. highlight the european chassis, 6 speed manual, dual exhaust, wide stance, clean lines, have him floor it, spin it, punch it, drift it, put it through its paces, is he happy? oh ya, he's happy! [ male announcer ] and that's how you test your car for fun. easy.
we start the second half with stories we care about, where we focus on our reporting from the front lines and we begin with an update on one of the victims at a sikh temple in wisconsin. he is now well enough to be released. the last victim to be released from the hospital. in a statement, his family says he still requires around the clock care, so he's going to go to a health facility. and the iranian man from texas accused of working with the iranian military to kill the saudi ambassador to the united states along with americans who were ought to dinner. today, he pled guilty to three charges. one for conspiracy, two related to murder for hire. he tried to recruit a mexican
drug cartel to bomb a washington restaurant, but it unravelled when the cartel contact turned out to be an undercover agent. he is expected to be sentenced in january and faces up to 25 years in jail. four more people have died from an outbreak of meningitis. 19 have died from the noncontaigious form of the disease, which authorities believe was contracted through contaminated injections. today, the house energy and commerce committee sent a letter to the fda asking for more information and the oversight of the new england compounding center. it has been 440 days since the u.s. lost its top credit rating. today, there was more good news on housing, builders breaking ground on new homes surged in september, 15% higher than the month before and the best since july of 2008. wow. now, our fourth story
"outfront." a war of words. mitt romney went after president obama last night. but the president was ready for it. >> the day after the attack, governor, i stood in the rose garden and i told the american people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. that this was an act of terror. >> the president just said something, which was that on the day after the attack, he went in the rose garden and said this was an act of terror. you said in the rose garden, the day after the ta tack, it was an act of terror. is that what you're saying? >> please proceed, governor. >> it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in benghazi an act of terror. >> get the transcript. >> he did, in fact, sir. >> can you say that a little louder, candy. >> he did call it an act of terror.
it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this to come out. >> the administration indicated that this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction. it took them a long time to say this was an act by the terrorist group. >> we looked at the tape on the day after the attack, september 12th, in the rose garden. >> the country is as strong as the character of our people and the service of those civilian and military who represent us around the globe. no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation. alter character or eclipse the values we stand for. >> while the president did make a reference to general acts of terror, he didn't specifically
call the the libya attack a terrorist attack, nor does he refer to the suspected killers as terrorists in that speech, so, what did the president mean? >> the president clearly stated on september 12th, it was an act of terror. in the context of ambassador stevens and his security detail. that's why he was there. that's why he was praising both the courage and sacrifice of individuals in making clear it was an act of terror. >> how do you explain the actions of the administration then? for a full week after the attack when jay carney was asked about it on the 13th, he didn't use the word, terror. susan rice -- on the 17th, the spokeswoman asked if she regarded it as an act of terrorism, i don't think we know
enough. then on september 25th on "the view" when the president was asked about it, he said there's no doubt the ongoing assault, that it wasn't just a mob action, which was still unclear. why what appears to be a real hesitancy to use the formal words? >> i think it was a recognition that this was an extraordinarily complicated situation in benghazi. it was difficult to get accurate information and what precise ly went on. in fact, that's why the president, actually, the secretary of state, calleded on ak bass dor thomas pickering to conduct a formal inquiry. >> why did they say it was linked to a movie? >> here's the situation. one, there was a hour long attack if you will on the legation in benghazi. it was clear and the president
said the day after, this was an act of terror. this was not an accidental occurrence. it wasn't, and i don't think he made any reference to the video in the context of the attack on the ligation. but it's not clear. still trying to establish the facts of whether this was an opportunity unfortunately seized on by terrorists or preplanned. that has to be determined carefully by ambassador pickering. >> cnn has reported that the government knew within 24 hours that it was not only a terrorist attack, but there were phone calls intercepted to al-qaeda, and some say that the lack of mention of an al-qaeda linked group for such a long period of time from the government may stem in part from the fact that vanquishing al-qaeda was a specific part of this president's foreign policy achievements. i want to play you a speech he gave last thursday, a little
piece of it, senator, then i'll show you something else. >> i said that we end the war in afghanistan and we are. i said that we'd refocus on the people who actually attacked us on 9/11 and today, al-qaeda, bin laden is dead. >> now, the president gave a speech that sounds extremely similar today in iowa, september for something really important. >> i told you we'd in the war in iraq and we did. the war in afghanistan and we are. i said we'd focus on the terrorist who actually attacked us on 9/11 and we have and bin laden is dead. >> and he obviously didn't include the part about al-qaeda being on the run, so is there something to this line of questioning, that al-qaeda on the run is such an important
narrative for this administration that they didn't want to talk talk about the involvement? >> the death of bin laden -- conducted heroically by navy s.e.a.l.s. there are groups that identify with jihad, extreme radical positions. they still exist and this is a continuing struggle, but to suggest al-qaeda is still being led by bin laden, the master mind of 9/11 and others is completely wrong. >> senator, we thank you so much for your time tonight, sir. and now, i want to bring in peter king. the chairman of the homeland security committee and a mitt romney supporter. good to talk to you. what do you make of this issue? i want to get your action to what senator reid had to say. do you buy with the president is saying? was referring to the attack in libya when he used the words
acts of terror on september 12th and i just want to add jay carney today was asked this question repeatedly by -- that is an act of terror under the definition of terrorism as in of course, people should have known. >> i'm going to use my words very carefully. i think the president's conduct and behavior on this issue has been shameful. first of all, as far as it being an act of terror, the president was four minutes into his statement on september 12th before he mentioned an act of terror. it followed a paragraph after september 11th. earli earlier in his statement, he didn't say anything about terrorism at all. it wasn't until he was well into the remarks and anyone looking at it, is he talking about benghazi or september 11th or all acts of terror?
>> the most you could say is ambiguo ambiguous. then follow in the next week. susan rice, jay carney was going out of his way to say it was a terrorist attack. the president himself went to the u.n. several weeks later, still talking about the tape. they were talking about a demonstration that was never held. i would expect the president to say on september 12th, this was a terrorist attack. but to ignore the fact that al-qaeda affiliates from that region, there had been terrorist attacks before, to me, this was politics at its worst. >> you've accused the administration of telling misleading stories and contradicts stories and to be fair, administration officials did talk about the movie being to blame. they did say the attack wasn't premedicated and were at least inconsistent on the word, terror. rudy giuliani said this wasn't the result of confusion,
incompetence, i'm going to quote him, sounds like a cover up. would you go that far? >> yes, i would. i'm not saying this is a criminal cover up. this is a political cover up because it went against the president's narrative. he could not acknowledge there was a terrorist attack because he had been trying to say al-qaeda was defeated, when in many ways, al-qaeda is as strong as it was on september 11th. this is going to be a long twilight struggle, the same as kennedy described against the soviets. it's gone to several different organizations. >> i guess one question that i have on this though is who should take responsibility? you saw the debate last night. obviously, the night before the debate, the secretary of state took responsibility. she said look i'm the one who's responsible. the president took responsibility last night. are you satisfied with that? >> what's she taking responsibility for?
now, he's trying to say all along, it's an act of terrorism when he wasn't saying that. his administration was peddling the story. is he taking responsibility for all the false statements, all the misleading statements? in that case, that's fine, but he wasn't doing that. instead, he was trying to spin it and somehow, he was calling it an act of terror or terrorist attack all along. susan rice went out of her way and never mentioned the word terrorism. >> do you think she should step down? you had called for her to resign. do you still think she should resign or is this now bigger in your mind? >> i think they should because when you have such a misleading o f the american people and the the world by a cabinet official, u.n. ambassador, there has to be consequences for this. we just can't aplow somebody to go on television speaking on behalf of the country. on that issue, who sat down with susan rice? who gave her talking points?
was david axelrod involved? white house political people? >> they tell us no, that they were not. >> thank you very much. >> susan rice, she -- >> okay. >> all right. thank you very much, sir, and good to see you. "outfront" next, author mark bowden. he spoke exclusively with the president on his role in the killing of osama bin laden. plus, lance armstrong set to lose millions in endorsements from his doping scandal, but who's the real victim? beeping camera ahhhh drill sound chirping electric shaver shaking remote tapping sound shaking drill chirping tapping shaking remote wouldn't it be great to have one less battery to worry about? car honking irping the 2012 sonata hybrid. the only hybrid with a lifetime hybrid battery warranty. from hyundai.
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it is getting worse for lance armstrong, the day after the story accusing nike of wiring half a million dollars to a cycling official to get them to ignore one of armstrong's positive drug tests -- due to the evidence that lance armstrong participated in doping and mislead nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness we have terminated our contract with him. the bulk of his estimated
personal fortune comes from his endorsements and while budweiser and others dropped him today, it was nike who helped him to find his persona, which brings me to tonight's number. 84 million. the number of like live strong bracele bracelets that have been sold. his foundation has raised half a billion dollars in the fight against cancer. $100 million of it came from nike and those bracelets. even though the foundation may have been started by armstrong, at this point, nike is crucial. so it comes down to lance's name or nike's money, they decideded to go with the money, which could be why earlier today, lance stepped down as chairman of the the foundation. and they're building a lanceless organization. we were lucky to be able to screen grab it for you before he disappeared, but will live strong mean anything without lance? and without doping? well, does all the -- let us
know what you think. tw twitter or facebook. then our fifth story "outfront," talking tough on foreign policy. president obama and mitt romney came out swinging last night. >> i said i'd end the war in libya, -- in iraq and i did. >> the president's policies throughout the middle east began with an apology tour and pursue a strategy from leading from behind. > final debate next week will be all about foreign policy. our next guest covers presidents clinton, bush and obama as commander in chief. best selling author of "black hawk down". there are things in there that i read that were rivoting to me. i can't get enough of this
story. you have reported on how he makes the decision on these drone attacks and who they are going to go and kill. are you surprised at how this administration has handled the libya storyline? >> no. i'm not surprised because i think the political staff that surrounds a president is always looking to present him and their own administration in the best possible light. and, i think that they probably do -- or did shy away from presenting this as an al qaeda attack because of perceptions of you know that organization still being alive and still being a threat. i don't know for a fact, but it makes sense to me. the president gave a speech a campaign speech and he does his
line, i said we are out of iraq and we are. and alca and al kid and al k and al qaeda is on the run. >> it is a well funded network and extremely intelligent the way that they run. if you look at the way that those attacks were prepared. people were trained and recruited and flown from one country to the other. they were steered into those jets. that is an extra ordinarily so fess ka sophisticated organization. that organization is basically dead. >> you have local militias in the middle east who will fly that flag to attract recruits.
but they were nowhere near what al qaeda is capable of doing. you report that it was very much his own decision. he chose the riskier path by putting in individual people. i hope you will read the book. if they had been watchi ining b laden, there was one guy that knew that was him. >> they called him the payer. john brennan had been involved back to the clinton administration and he had seen video of bin laden from above walking across afghanistan. sometimes you recognize them by more than just their face. by the way they move and by the way they walk and he saw that
picture and was 95% serp thcertt it was him. >> there is something that has to be amazing about watching this guy. >> i don't think that john brennan was prepared to take the burden of choice on himself, but if asked, which he was, he said i am as certain as i could be that, that was bin laden. and the president said look, as far as i'm concerned this is 50/50. >> and he made the decision and he did get bin laden. as he said, that can never be removed. >> it is a remarkable story and one that he deserved credit for. >> and you tell it very well. so thank you very much. go and check it out. it takes you very well. as least when you read the pacer, that was my favorite part. last night i watched the debate
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crucial swing state. neither candidate stirred up excitement. even though they weren't sure who they were voting for, there was no question who they were routing for, ohio state. this is one of the focus group members and like many of them, all of them a huge buck eye's fan. how serious are they about their school? this explains it. they say it is the ohio state. this isn't ohio state. it is the ohio state. as i was doing a hit last night for cnn this happened. >> our focus group here at the ohio state. sorry, i can't not laugh when i say that. [ applause ] >> there